YMA Stories: Daniel R., 22, Toronto
Enlarge image (© Daniel R. ) My experience was rather unusual as it initially consisted of two summer courses in Germany, then a four month exchange semester at a German university, and then after coming back to Canada to complete the last semester of my studies a three month internship in Frankfurt. It was for the purposes of this internship that I applied for and obtained the YMA Visa.
Enlarge image (© Daniel R.)
When I came to Germany for the first in the summer of 2014, it was a surreal experience. It was my first time in Europe, and as a Finance major I could not have chosen a better place to come to than Frankfurt - the financial hub of mainland Europe. Over the course of the summer and my exchange semester which followed, I explored almost all the major cities and hubs in Germany (although I did miss a few!), from the youthful and hipster-Berlin to the ancient Roman gate city of Trier. I indulged in very memorable experiences which I will never forget, such as Oktoberfest in Munich, being in the old city center of Bremen (which felt like I time-traveled 1,000 years back!), seeing the ports and waterways of Hamburg, and the beautiful ancient city of Trier (I highly recommend visiting it if you're in the area!). I was fortunate to meet and mingle with locals at my host university in Koblenz (WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management) as well as outside of it. People were very nice and accommodating to foreigners and did not laugh at my poor German (yikes).
Enlarge image (© Daniel R. ) Ultimately, it was the beautiful city of Frankfurt that I fell in love with, and I was very lucky to land a summer internship in my field of study there. I returned home to Canada to complete the last semester of my undergraduate studies, in the meantime sharpening my German and preparing all the documentation for my YMA Visa. Even though a fair bit of paperwork needed to be done (I've never applied for any visa before) it was overall a pretty simple and smooth process and the people at the German Consulate in Toronto were very helpful.
Enlarge image (© Daniel R. ) My summer internship in Frankfurt was an incredible experience. Not only did I get to travel around Germany (and beyond) again, but I also gained extremely valuable work experience in my field, learned quite a bit of German on the job, and made a bunch of friends who I still keep in touch with frequently. Following my internship, I landed another six month internship at a top German bank in Frankfurt which I was very excited about. I initially accepted but than had to turn it down later as I decided to come back home to pursue interests career-wise. Although I reflect on this decision on an almost daily basis as I would have LOVED to spend another half year in Frankfurt, I always remember that I was very fortunate to have spent that (almost) year in Germany in the first place. "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." I will always have a special spot for Mainhattan - my favourite nickname for Frankfurt - reserved in my heart, and I am confident that one day I will return there - it may be sooner rather than later.
(© Daniel R. )
As a final word, I can highly recommend the Youth Mobility Agreement to any of my fellow Canadians considering traveling to Germany, regardless of what you plan on doing there. It's a great program and very flexible option-wise, you don't need to have an internship lined up in order to do it, and you can even do it twice! Excluding self-employment, it allows you to work in Germany without any restristions for as long as one year, which is a fantastic opportunity.
During my four recent job interviews here in Canada, the first thing that every interviewer asked about and wanted me to talk about is my time in Germany, and they are taken aback and seemed impressed by my experience abroad. I can honestly say I have zero regrets about my time in Germany.
Daniel R., 22, TorontoEnlarge image (© Daniel R. )